Wondering how to become a destination wedding photographer and book your first destination wedding? Lexi Foster shares her best tips!
In this post, we’re delving into the world of destination weddings, exploring how to handle inquiries, market effectively, and strike a balance between local and destination clientele. If you’re eager to expand your portfolio and develop a rock-solid marketing plan, you’ve come to the right place, stay glued and read on as we plunge headfirst into this captivating topic!!
Exploring destination wedding photography
If you’re new to the world of elopement destination weddings but eager to dive in, here are some valuable tips to get you started.
First, ensure to incorporate travel into your business conversations. Let everyone know that you’re open to traveling for weddings. Utilize platforms like Instagram to share your travel plans, both on your story slides and in regular posts. Consider prominently featuring your travel availability on your website, even placing it above the fold. Consistently mentioning your willingness to travel will help establish your brand as a destination wedding expert.
Take the initiative to visit potential wedding locations on your own time. Even during family trips, set aside dedicated time to capture photographs or videos of picturesque landscapes. These visuals can serve as valuable marketing materials, showcasing your firsthand knowledge of the locations and providing couples with a preview of what their wedding could look like. By accumulating expertise in specific destinations, you’ll build credibility and attract more inquiries.
Finding your focus on certain locations
Destination wedding photography business owners should focus on one area at a time to maximize benefits. While some photographers may capture diverse landscapes, it’s important to recognize that opportunities may arise from personal connections and chance encounters. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t achieve the same results immediately, as couples have unique preferences.
From a marketing perspective, it’s wise to begin by targeting a specific location within a reasonable distance from your base, approximately three to four hours away. Highlight your travel capabilities and emphasize your expertise in that particular area. For instance, in Lexi’s case, Acadia National Park, located five to five and a half hours away, became an initial focus. Through strategic messaging, educate your audience about the park’s allure, showcasing why it’s an ideal elopement destination. By concentrating on one location, you create a clear narrative that resonates with potential clients. This approach avoids overwhelming visitors to your website and allows couples to identify you as a knowledgeable and ready photographer for their chosen location, such as Tampa, Florida.
It’s necessary to establish a strong presence and credibility in specific destinations before expanding your reach. By strategically targeting and marketing yourself for a chosen location, you increase your chances of connecting with couples seeking a photographer who intimately understands their desired wedding backdrop.
Ways people can market
A powerful tool in attracting couples to choose you as their destination wedding photographer is informative and educational blog posts. By creating content that guides and prepares couples, you position yourself as an expert in the field. Utilize SEO techniques to optimize your blog posts, making them easily discoverable by potential clients.
Offer valuable insights, share tips, and provide detailed guidance on eloping in specific locations. By showcasing your knowledge and expertise, couples will be more inclined to choose you as their trusted photographer, recognizing the value you bring to their special day. Embrace the opportunity to establish yourself as a go-to resource, building trust and connections through your informative blog content.
Other effective strategies to consider when it comes to marketing your destination wedding photography services are landing pages and Instagram. Landing pages play a vital role in targeting specific keywords and capturing the attention of potential clients. Imagine creating a dedicated landing page for Acadia National Park. Craft a blog post titled “Your Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Acadia” and provide comprehensive information. Showcase your expertise by detailing the permit process, ideal elopement locations, seasonal considerations, and more.
Create valuable content
By curating valuable content, you position yourself as an expert. Search engines like Google recognize this expertise and will rank your landing page higher, ensuring that couples seeking elopement advice in Acadia find your valuable insights.
Instagram is another powerful tool for destination wedding marketing. Use relevant hashtags, such as #elopementinAcadia or #destinationweddingexpert, to expand your reach to couples searching for specific locations or services. Additionally, make use of geolocation tags to associate your posts with specific destinations. When couples explore Instagram, these tags enable them to easily discover your work and expertise in their desired location.
Email lists are also powerful tools for attracting and engaging destination clients. Offering content upgrades or freebies can entice couples interested in planning their dream destination wedding. By encouraging couples to join your email list, you establish a direct line of communication, fostering a deeper connection and trust. Using landing pages on your website and an impactful Instagram presence can help target specific keywords and create a comprehensive resource hub for couples seeking information on specific destinations.
Marketing destination weddings and local weddings
It is possible to successfully market both local and destination wedding photography services. Lexi’s primary focus lays in the New England region, encompassing Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, where she attracted a significant portion of her local clientele. However, she also received numerous inquiries for destination weddings, whether within the country or internationally.
The key is to communicate clearly on your website that you still cater to weddings in your local area. By explicitly stating your availability and showcasing a guide on eloping in the specific regions you serve, you address any doubts or questions potential clients may have. Consistently showing up for your audience is paramount. Maintain an active presence on platforms like Instagram, where you can discuss local venues while also sharing updates about your travel schedule. This dual approach allows you to demonstrate your versatility as a photographer, capturing moments both near and far.
As your life transitions and family becomes a priority, it’s natural to desire a stable home base. Communicate this shift to your audience, assuring them that while you explore diverse locations, you still value your local roots. By striking a balance between local and destination marketing, you can effectively grow your business while embracing the evolving phases of your personal life.
Full-time destination wedding
Pursuing a career as a full-time destination wedding photographer is an enticing prospect, but it’s important to approach it with caution and consideration. Before diving headfirst into this path, take time to travel and explore, especially with your family. Plan a series of consecutive trips to gauge your passion and suitability for the demanding nature of constant travel.
Starting this journey at an early stage of life, without a partner or family, may seem exciting, but it can also be mentally and physically draining. As you progress, reassess and ensure that this lifestyle aligns with your long-term goals and desires. The constant movement and jet-setting can be both exhilarating and exhausting, so self-reflection and self-awareness are key in determining if this is the right path for you.
Tips for attracting destination wedding inquiries
Creating a dedicated landing page for each location you target is necessary, include the location name in the title, slug (URL), and metadata to optimize search engine visibility. Incorporate relevant keywords throughout the page and guide potential clients through the client journey, providing them with a clear understanding of what it’s like to work with you.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your destination wedding services across various platforms. Share your passion and expertise on Instagram, Facebook, and other channels where your current audience resides. Even if it feels repetitive, consistently discussing your destination offerings expands your reach and attracts new followers.
Know that your online presence may have a larger impact than you realize. People may have silently followed your photography journey for years, admiring your work without actively engaging. So, don’t be discouraged by low initial interaction. The seeds you sow today may blossom into inquiries and bookings down the line.
Becoming a successful destination wedding photographer also requires a shift in mindset. Embrace the identity of a destination wedding photographer wholeheartedly. Make a conscious decision to market yourself as such and convey confidence in your ability to deliver exceptional experiences for couples seeking unique wedding locations. Embracing this identity and consistently promoting yourself as a destination wedding photographer will enhance your brand perception and attract clients who align with your services.
While the idea of marketing for destination weddings may seem daunting, it is more manageable than you might think. By taking intentional steps to nurture your clients, providing valuable information, and collecting social proof, you can successfully navigate the journey toward booking destination weddings.
Creating a Destination Wedding Portfolio
When it comes to building your portfolio for destination weddings, organizing styled shoots can be a powerful tool. But how do you go about setting up these shoots and finding models?
First, reach out to local vendors such as wedding planners, videographers, and photographers in the destination area. Collaboration with these professionals can lead to valuable connections and opportunities for promotion. By involving multiple vendors, each with its own network, your styled shoot will gain greater exposure and expand your reach.
Next, consider working with already married couples for your shoots. They may be more readily available and eliminate the need to source wedding attire. However, if you need models, reach out to friends or acquaintances who might be interested in posing for you. Additionally, dress rental companies on Instagram can provide a wide range of wedding gowns for your shoots. Renting dresses for a few days allows you to showcase different styles and create diverse visual content for your portfolio.
Throughout the process, document your styled shoots with high-quality photographs that highlight the destination’s beauty and your unique style. Share these images on your website, social media platforms, and portfolio to demonstrate your expertise in capturing stunning moments in that specific location.
By strategically organizing styled shoots and collaborating with vendors and models, you can enhance your destination wedding portfolio, attract potential clients, and establish yourself as a talented and versatile photographer in the industry.
Recently, Lexi also launched an exclusive course that delves into the marketing techniques we discussed today, including landing pages, email marketing, and Pinterest strategies. As a special offer, she’s providing a generous discount of $100 off the course fee by using the code “Rachel.” Simply visit her website and access the course here and take your photography journey to the next level with valuable insights and strategies from the course.